Hooray! Hurrah! The 21st March, 2022 sees the eagerly awaited launch of author S.L.Russell’s latest contemporary novel The Wounds of Time and, for me, this is her best novel to date.
Set in the fictional town of Brant, and maintaining the link with characters in each of the two preceding Brant novels – The Healing Knife and The Thorn of Truth – The Wounds of Time can be read as part of the series or as a stand-alone book.
The protagonist in this case is Janet, a strong-minded, independent woman of middling years, who has clawed her way out of a challenging childhood to become the highly respected Senior Clerk of Chambers. Top of her game and queen of her small realm, at first glance Janet is a prickly character and not someone that ticks the usual protagonist boxes. She can be abrasive, standoffish, even a touch arrogant. She doesn’t suffer fools and is quite likely to tell them as much. But beneath the hard shell is a woman with whom many readers can identify and therein lies just one aspect of S.L. Russell’s skill as a writer. The author deftly conjures a complex, believable character who faces difficult circumstances but does not neatly overcome them. Instead, Janet does what we all do: reacts imperfectly to changing circumstances, makes wrong decisions (albeit with good intentions), and alienates those closest to her as she builds a shield wall to protect herself and others. Simply put, Janet is a recognisable, multi-coloured individual, not bleached of her imperfections for the sake of narrative, but someone we grow to know and care about as we make the journey with her.
And while S.L. Russell’s books have a benign disposition (there is nothing offensive in terms of language or content) they are neither cosy nor sentimental. Each deals with life situations with a clear-sighted reality as down to earth and compassionate as the author herself. Sue Russell is the champion of real and The Wounds of Time is likely to provoke a degree of gentle self-reflection.
Tightly plotted and with a building tension, The Wounds of Time is written in a concise style with an exquisite use of language, leaving a lingering impression – a resonance akin to eating a fine, dark chocolate – delighting the senses and satisfying in its depth.
The Wounds of Time is available to order: https://amzn.to/3JqoJIk
Books in the Brant series: